Leading the Trailing Edge of Telecommunications

Older Phones & Phone Systems on VoIP:

In the fall of 2004, an email conversation began on the Telephone Collectors International mailing list. Several folks who had restored older PBXes and CO switching systems had begun to wonder, now that Voice Over IP was beginning to be viable, if there was a way to connect their switches together via the Internet.

Someone mentioned the Asterisk VoIP PBX, and, with a little experimentation, the project took off, with several of the switchers creating Asterisk switches as tandems to their switches. A central switching scheme was established, office codes were assigned, and an automated method of looking up call routing was put in place. The Collectors’ Net , or C*NET, was born.

I just love the irony that VoIP and Asterisk are being used by these guys to expand and improve the hobby of antique phone equipment collecting. They are building a VoIP1 based overlay network2 …while the concept of where the public switched telephone network begins and ends is being re-invented.


  1. SIP/IAX 

  2. assigning office codes, and complete with tandem switches